After writing more than two-dozen best-selling romance novels for Harlequin Enterprises, the world's largest publisher of women's fiction, award-winning author Leslie Kelly found herself wanting to try something completely different. Though a long-time reader of romance, Kelly's favorite genres are dark suspense and horror. So, chucking the flirtation, banter, outrageous humor and steamy sex scenes for which she'd become famous, she took the pseudonym Leslie Parrish and immersed herself in the world of FBI agents, serial killers and danger.
Preparing a proposal for a series of books about an FBI Cyber Action Team tasked to solve Internet-related murders, Parrish crossed her fingers and had her agent submit it to all the major New York publishers. Within just ten days, she had an offer of publication from NAL-Signet (a division of Penguin Books.) Says Parrish, "I was thrilled, of course, but also a little overwhelmed at how fast everything came together."
Having written only fifty pages of one book for the proposal, she found herself having to write three full 100,000 word novels based on just a few ideas. Because Parrish and her new publisher made the decision to release the books in quick, back-to-back succession during the summer of 2009, she had about fifteen months in which to do it.
The result was a trilogy of dark romantic-thrillers populated by FBI agents and serial murderers. The first, Fade To Black, deals with a race to find a brutal serial killer called The Reaper, who is auctioning-off means-of-death at a deviant cyber playground.
Parrish says her roots in romance fiction enabled her to instill the books with emotion and strong lead characters. "I have always enjoyed writing romance," Parrish says, "but when I combined my two favorite types of books, romance and thrillers, I absolutely found my niche."